Stratus Admissions

Top 3 Cliches To Avoid In Your Law School Personal Statement

Editor's Note: All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.  You’ve taken the LSAT (and hopefully scored well), built a strong academic record in college and pursued internships that offered valuable life experience and prepared you for a career in the law. You are now ready to apply to law school. Bear in mind that law school Admissions Committees (AdComs) read thousands of these essays per year and come across the same overused themes and logical fallacies. When you begin to compose your personal statement, your mind blanks. You think to yourself, “I know that I’m an interesting…

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How to Get A Handle on Student Loans

It's that time of the year again. Fall is in the air and thousands of newly-minted lawyers across the country are walking into their first jobs after having passed the bar exam (we hope!). While the flush of starting a career is a lot of fun, there's usually a monster hiding in the background that many lawyers would prefer to avoid: staggering student loan debt.  Luckily, paying off your student loans is a problem that you're well-equipped to handle, assuming you decide to take a proactive approach rather than burying your head in the sand. Get your arms around your…

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Healing Hurt With High Heels:  How One Aspiring Law Student Helps Others Heal from Domestic Violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, [1] so this article shares the story of a pre-law student who started her own nonprofit organization for survivors of domestic violence after surviving domestic violence herself.  I am honored to share this conversational interview I had with Ronshanda “Nikki” Chaney about how she found purpose from her pain and in turn helps others heal through her novels and organization, Heel My Heart.  --- Nikki, thank you so much for taking time to answer questions for me as the October member spotlight for Grace for the Grind™ Career Mastermind!  Let’s start off with…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Importance of Feedback for Millennial Lawyers

Millennial lawyers need feedback from supervising attorneys on a project basis --- not just once or twice a year in scheduled reviews.  That is well-established.  People in positions like mine hear it all the time, and we know how important feedback is to junior lawyers --- especially those who were raised with an abundance of feedback and mostly praise. What does not get as much attention is the critical failure by law firms to revise review policies and mentoring efforts to meet the feedback needs of young lawyers.   As I have stated to law firm and bar association audiences…

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Where Are All the (Asian American) Female Lawyers?

In my ongoing discussion about why women lawyers leave law firms, I want to take a look at why one subset in particular leaves at higher rates than all others:  Asian American women.  So why are Asian American women leaving law firms?  My personal answer:  Statistical Probability.  Google this question, and you’ll see article after article about Asian Americans and the practice of law.  And in my very unscientific survey of these articles I note the following: (1) for the last two decades Asian Americans make up the largest minority group within big law firms; (2) Asian Americans have one…

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The Mental Load: Is Impatience a Virtue for Type A Personalities?

I made a quick stop at the grocery store recently to grab a gallon of milk. As I hurried out, the automatic doors opened WAY too slow for my liking. I mean, I practically had to stop dead in my tracks and WAIT for the doors so I could resume my desired pace. You’d think by now they’d make automatic doors that function a little quicker, right? If it hadn’t been for my recent study of Type A personality, I would have ended my train of thought with this agitated observation about the ineptitude of the doors. But I’ve been…

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Something Blue: Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession – An Interview with Rexanah Wyse

For this month's post, I am delighted to feature an interview with Rexanah P. Wyse, a first generation attorney and former prosecutor dedicated to changing the narrative for vulnerable populations.  Rexanah currently works for the federal government where she serves on a policy team that is focused on youth homelessness, criminal justice, racial equity, human trafficking, and ending homelessness for families.   Could you tell Ms. JD blog readers about your background and what prompted you to apply to law school? My lineage is directly tied to Sierra Leone in West Africa.  A small developing nation with a powerful history of…

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The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Received: Don’t Succumb To Self-Doubt

An associate in a small firm reached out to me because she was having difficulty after only two years in practice.  She worked for a partner whom she described as “really smart”.  She said that the partner expected her to know a lot more than she did.  When she asked for help, she was criticized for asking.  No matter how hard she tried, she only received negative feedback.  She felt like she just couldn’t win, no matter what she did.  I knew the partner she worked for to have a very difficult personality, so none of what the associate recounted…

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Law School Activities

Several 1L law students have asked me what activities they should look into joining while in law school. They also have asked me the practical benefits of joining organizations in law school. The short answer is that joining an activity will significantly enhance the law school experience. Activities are a great way to meet new people and an even better way to strengthen leadership skills and gain practical tools necessary for the practice of law. What organizations an individual should join depends greatly on what you seek to gain from the organization. For instance, many law school students seek to…

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Millennial Women

On Mentorship

This month, we wanted to talk about something very important to millennials as we contemplate our professional development: mentorship. Quick note- mentorship isn’t the same as sponsorship, which is another important concept in career development (and maybe a future blog post?!). Sponsorship is where one party agrees to advocate for and refer work to another party. Typically, this looks like a more senior attorney at a firm, company or government office agreeing to sponsor a more junior attorney at the same place. This is different. Mentors don’t have to be at your workplace, don’t have to be able to give…

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